Where will Erin Burnett Land on CNN?
Today’s news from TVNewser that Ali Velshi will get a 5 am show on CNN in addition to his American Morning duties noted that the 1-3 shift will continue to be handled by rotating substitute anchors.
Why do I consider that insignificant news somewhat significant? Because, it raises the possibility, however slightly, that Erin Burnett is not headed to that slot. So, for the sake of argument – and giving me something to do – let’s speculate upon where Burnett is destined to wind up.
When CNN announced Burnett’s hire, a quick survey of its programming landscape pointed strongly to the current vacancy at 1pm as the odds on favorite destination if for no other reason than because it was vacant and had been vacant for some time. Then Page Six came out with its story that John King USA was going to be jettisoned for Burnett. CNN shot that down the same day.
Unfortunately for CNN their “conclusive” statement does not settle the matter and it can blame itself for that. The incredibly complicated pretzel-like PR contortions the network made during the whole Piers Morgan/Larry King saga last year has effectively poisoned the well for the foreseeable future in regards to any statements the network makes concerning future talent/programming decisions. I just can’t take what they say at face value completely, not to the degree I once did back before it allowed the Morgan/King PR Charlie Foxtrot to spin out of control. I mean, you could parse CNN’s statement rebutting Page Six in such a manner that Page Six still winds up being right. Burnett could replace King’s show if King’s show moved for example…like moved to 8pm where another CNN show is struggling and is oft ridiculed as of late given the recent political sex scandals because of the host’s past.
Normally networks have time slots in mind for talent when they hire them…especially when they’re a high profile hire like Burnett was. The fact that CNN “claims”, as of last week’s Page Six story, to not have a time slot decided for Burnett is interesting…interesting bordering on suspicious. Why has it not decided? The options are limited. There’s 1pm-3pm, 3pm-5pm (which would necessitate moving Brooke Baldwin ahead two hours), 7pm, and 8pm. That’s basically it.
It’s not like CNN has tons of options here.
Of the four I listed the 3-5 seems the most illogical but may be where she ultimately lands. This assumes that CNN was dead serious about keeping King at 7pm and is still smarting too much from the beating it took with Campbell Brown at 8 to even consider doing what would almost certainly amount to a full on sequel at the same hour with Burnett. The reason 3-5 makes more sense than plugging Burnett in at 1 is one of programming consistency. Having CNN Newsroom sandwich a branded Burnett show, and you have to figure CNN is going to brand her show, doesn’t make a lot of sense from a flow perspective. So I think CNN would opt to shift Baldwin to 1pm and plug Burnett in at 3 if if was looking to put Burnett on during dayside.
But maybe CNN will pull a rabbit out of its hat and do something totally unexpected. I sense a couple of poll questions coming…
The second one is a variation on the first one but the differences are significant. On the first I ask where you think CNN will put her. The second I’m asking where you think CNN should put her. Answers to the two may not be the same as a result. But I’m curious to see how the differences shake out, if at all.